barbed-wire-1193156.jpeg

SOCIAL EXCLUSION

"Anyone can be made to feel like an outsider. It’s up to the people who have the power to exclude. Often it’s on the basis of race. Depending on a culture’s fears and biases, Jews can be treated as outsiders. Muslims can be treated as outsiders. Christians can be treated as outsiders. The poor are always outsiders. The sick are often outsiders. People with disabilities can be treated as outsiders. Members of the LGBTQ community can be treated as outsiders. Immigrants are almost always outsiders. And in almost every society, women can be made to feel like outsiders—even in their own homes"

Melinda Gates

Metaphorically, the above image of a barbed wire fence summarises the divide between being excluded and being included.  On the inclusive side of the fence are those individuals abiding by the norms, values, culture and habits of both the dominant elite and the society that they run and maintain.  On the other side, are the so-called 'others'.  These 'others' are usually people who observe contrasting, but not necessarily invasive or negative, cultures, faith systems, 'mores' and morals.  Moreover, many of these 'others' are also people excluded on the grounds of being 'different' (as is the case that often occurs because of age, ethnicity, Indigenous origin, gender diversity or disability).

 

Indeed, barbed wire is notorious for keeping people in or out of a protected area/sphere.  In relation to social injustice, this metaphorical, harmful form of exclusion represents a socially constructed barrier to prevent perceived 'undesirables' from fully partaking in the perpetuation of the established/dominant social configuration. Much in the same way that 'disableism' occurs, the excluded are prevented from living in, participating in, and contributing to that society. Their contributions are deemed to either be not worthy or they, the excluded, are seen to be incapable of fully contributing and/or enhancing the prevalent set of social relations.

 

Moreover, the rewards for participatory contributions are denied as a consequence of exclusion. In turn, the lack of reward repels any meaningful opportunity to participate, contribute and educate society in general. And with these denials, problems of marginalisation, alienation, disaffection, anger or resentment and can arise.  Indeed, the consequences of which can be seen in a devastating rise in suicide rates, increased demonstrations/protests, violent attacks on property or urban riots alongside a growing disenchantment with the dominant political and powerful elites. In sum, the almost inevitable result would be chaos, extreme hardship (whether it be emotional or physical) and distrustful social relations leading to further disarray.  

 

Yet by including those excluded, society could allow for the addition of a new, much needed, dynamic based on change (for the better) rather being left in the static mode of procedural obedience whilst hidden behind the 'this is the way it always has been' shield of stagnation and exploitation. Therefore, change may, under these circumstances, denigrate the materialistic pursuit of profit and benefit all, rather than just the few wealthy States and individuals, and could encourage environmentally friendly policies, inclusive socio-economic practices as well as facilitating a greater appreciation of difference. 

 

In the final analysis, encouraging such change is, in essence, the ultimate aim of (In)Justice International in our attempts to expose avaricious, harmful, powerful elites and their devastating practices and behaviours. Exposure of these groups and individuals is, for us, the first of many strides towards achieving a more 'just' society.